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Housing Starts Match Expectations; Can They Build on That?

That means the spring buying season is critical. The second quarter of the year is the most important for home sales, as school schedules and weather converge to convince people the time is right to look. It also means the Federal Reserve will do what it must to keep mortgage rates low, avoiding the blip (up in mortgage rates, and down in housing sales) that the then-approaching end of quantitative easing set off last summer.

By different rules of thumb, every new house means anywhere from three new jobs to about four and a half. (The difference is in how different economists calculate multiplier effects like jobs at Home Depot (HD) and furniture stores). So if housing sales can pick up to 1.3 million for the full year, that's
a gain of 375,000 houses, and somewhere between 1.1 million and 1.7 million new jobs in housing and related fields.

With a work force of a little more than 155 million, the difference between more of the early-2014 pace of housing construction and something near the high end of forecasts is about 0.7 percentage points on the unemployment rate.

By July, we'll know what kind of year we're having in housing construction. When we do, we'll know nearly all we need to know about the year we're having on the jobs front.

This article represents the opinion of a contributor and not necessarily that of TheStreet or its editorial staff.

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